Bitmain Reportedly Eyeing Major Layoffs Ahead of Bitcoin Halving

Michael LaVere
  • Mining rig manufacturer Bitmain is expected to layoff a significant portion of its staff ahead of May's halving event.
  • Sources familiar with the situation say cutbacks are related to the reduced block reward.

Mining conglomeration Bitmain may lay off another 50% of its staff ahead of May’s bitcoin halving. 

In December, Chinese media outlet Wushuo Blockchain reported that Bitmain had launched a “personnel optimization plan” to lay off a significant portion of its workforce ahead of the next bitcoin halving. The layoffs are expected to occur before Jan. 17, when the mining rig manufacturer will host its annual meeting. 

Those familiar with the situation claim the layoffs are in response to bitcoin’s halving event, which will cut the total block reward from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC per block. Dovey Wan, founding partner of crypto fund Primitive Ventures, called Bitmain’s layoffs the “first halving” of 2020. 

Bitmain has a history of massive layoffs. In December 2018, the company cut ties with roughly half of its employees, saying at the time, 

A part of [building a sustainable business] is having to really focus on things that are core to that mission and not things that are auxiliary. As we move into the new year we will continue to double down on hiring the best talent from a diverse range of backgrounds.

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Cannabis Shops Turn to Crypto Apps Amidst Coronavirus Cash Shortages

Michael LaVere
  • Cannabis shops in Boulder, Colorado are using bitcoin payment app Strike to conduct "contactless" exchanges.
  • Cash shortages and lack of sanitation are causing businesses to find alternative means for transaction. 

Cannabis shops are using bitcoin payment services to conduct business in place of fiat amidst the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to a report by CoinDesk, cannabis dispensaries in Boulder, Colorado have been onboarded to the closed beta for Strike, a bitcoin payment service application founded by lighting network supporter Zap. 

Zap, founded by Jack Mallers, has been operating a closed beta for the payment application Strike which allows users the option of sending bitcoin or dollars and receiving funds in their bank account. The application uses a simple QR code interface, similar to Venmo, that allows users to send funds without having prior knowledge or expertise with bitcoin. 

Mallers said, 

Every Strike user is given a public domain at We’re using Lightning for really fast online settlement of value transfers. … It’s also beneficial for privacy on the sender’s side.

Johnny Kurish, general manager at Boulder’s Helping Hands Herbals cannabis shop, said the application allowed his dispensary to process $1,000 worth of purchases since being added to the beta last week. 

Kurish said the dispensary will switch to only accepting Strike payments, which allow for contactless exchanges in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 

He said, 

We’re really lucky to have curbside drop-offs. We check the ID through the roll-up window, deliver the cannabis to a podium in front of the car. We’re happy to reopen with an option that’s safe for our staff.

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